Kogi State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello has condemned in strong terms the burning of the constituency projects of Senator Dino Melaye in Lokoja the state capital by some arsonists.
The Director General, Media and Publicity to the state governor, Mr. Kingsley Fanwo, who spoke on behalf of Governor during an assessment tour of the burnt facility also said the state government had directed security operatives to fish out the arsonists.
The four constituency projects burnt and vandalized are four block of classroom each at Government Girls’ secondary school, Sarkin Noma; Lokongoma Secondary School, Phase 1; and Adankolo Secondary school; all in Lokoja.
Fanwo, who spoke at the Government Girls’ Secondary School, Sarkin Nomo said, “Government condemns the incident. Education is the leading thematic area of the state government and so will not allow any elements derail it.
“Irrespective of who is doing the project, the fund is from the government. So weather it is the executive or legislative, such projects should rather be applauded and not destroyed.
“We have directed the security operatives to access the situation, get to the root of the matter, unraveled the perpetrators and bring the culprits to book.
“Government will take a decisive action to ensure that the arsonists do not go scout free.”
The state commissioner for Education, Mrs. Rosemary Osikoya, who was amongst the government officials at the sites said government will not fold her arms until the perpetrators are fished out.
“Exams are ongoing and these building are being used since January 2018. We expect that people will respect the sanctity of education.
“This act is masterminded and not accidental. The building were burnt including the chairs. If not for the serving Corps members around, who tried to put out the flame it would have been worse than this.
“We appeal to everybody to collaborate with us in education and not use it as a meetting point for political sabotage. This is a dastard act; the state’s interest should be paramount rather than the individual political ego.”
The State Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of operations, Mr. Monday Kuryas who was also on hand narrated that the hoodlums forced their way into the buildings.
He said the act was premeditated as the arsonists burnt down the building and damaged some other structures.
He said the police were already investigating the matter and will soon apprehend the arsonists.
The projects damaged were due for commissioning by the Senator as part of his legacy projects at the senate.
Meanwhile, the Kogi State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party has also condemned in strong terms the incident.
Achadu Dickson, Director Research and Documentation, PDP, said the midnight action by alleged political thugs had once again shown that Kogi State retrogressed to those dark days, when thugs were kings.
The PDP described the burning and vandalization of the schools as not a loss to Senator Melaye, but a loss to the State, Kogi State Children, and the community.
The PDP called on security agencies to fish out the perpetrators of the heinous and dastardly act, pointing out that there had been an earlier threat when some youths at a social gathering on Tuesday allegedly threatened to cause mayhem and stop the senator from inaugurating his constituency projects.
The PDP added that just recently at the weekend during the Ekiti State Election, thugs from the state allegedly transported from the state were arrested and were now in detention, thus bringing to the fore the strong involvement of some powerful persons in position of authority, sponsoring and abetting the thugs to operate freely in the state.
“Kogi State PDP therefore sympathizes with students of the various schools destroyed by the hoodlums, their parents and the community for losing what even though was the responsibilities of the State government but was however facilitated by a Senator as his constituency projects” the statement added.
The PDP also warned youths not to allow themselves to be used as political thugs, pointing out that the schools were legacies and institutions built to educate and reform the youths who were leaders of tomorrow.